Friday, February 2, 2018

Sotto lambast Acosta for messing up Dengvaxia issue

At last, someone from the Senate had the gall of questioning Atty. Persida Acosta's participation in the Dengvaxia issue.

Senator Tito Sotto cautioned Acosta from releasing "unverified" and "inconclusive" findings about Dengvaxia. A series of TV Patrol reports showing Acosta crying and even declaring publicly of a severe dengue epidemic is causing undue panic among Filipinos, and do not help in the cases to be filed by alleged victims of the vaccine.

Sotto is right. Acosta's role is to make sure that there is sufficient pieces of evidence to show a definitive link between those kid's deaths and the vaccine. 14 cases out of 800,000 is definitive?

I repeat---fourteen out of 800,000 kids vaccinated, proof of an epidemic of severe dengue?

Frankly, Acosta is correct---severe dengue is prevalent in the Philippines because our country is dengue infested, meaning dengue is an endemic disease in this tropical country.

What is so crafty about Acosta's pronouncement is that she is telling us that this epidemic is caused by Dengvaxia which is untrue!!

According to the World Health Organisation or WHO, there is still no confirmed dengvaxia-related deaths. Acosta claims there is. Whom do you believe--a lawyer who wants to be senator Acosta or WHO?

Frankly, I don't mind these anti-Dengvaxia people from hitting this vaccine because I don't have any love lost for this vaccine.

As a scholar, present empirical evidence first before I believe the yarn being spread by Acosta and by Dr. Tony Leachon and other so-called health experts.

For me, it is irresponsible for these people to go around town, like robbed messengers of death, and claim that these kids died due to severe dengue caused by dengvaxia. Maybe they really died of severe dengue but caused by a vaccine? Balooney!

I laud Senator Tito Sotto for his statement. May your tribe increase.

At least nagiisip si Tito Sen, hindi yung sakay na lang ng sakay sa isyu talud ng mga re-electionists na sina Senator JV Ejercito and Nancy Binay.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Charter change and its substantive effects on Philippine growth and progress

Realism according to its fathers, is about the emphasis on facts and analysing its causes and consequences. This is about valid causalities. And basing one's analysis of society on universally accepted moral principles, which are all abstract, would lead one to fail in appreciating the true causes of human actions and behaviour.

Why is it that I think we, as a nation, is actually moving backward instead of forward. The reality of our times call for a more in-depth appreciation of our economic growth and development. Our national economy is on the rise. The problem really is how to spur these economic gains to trickle down to benefit the greatest number. For us to discover the answer to this question, we need to appreciate how capital behaves.

Capital behaves like water---it occupies space. It needs space. The more space it occupies, the more it replicates itself. For it to occupy space, capital has to have a purpose on why it occupies such a space.  Such a space must have a structure by which to allow the flow of capital from one place to another. Over time, capital grows. Its growth depends on exchange. Men produce capital, and it grows based on men's interactions. The growth of capital depends on both qualitative and quantitative factors. Quality is necessary to assure replication over time while quantitative factors influences the behaviour of capital. The more capital a place has, the higher the possibility of its immediate repetition over time.

Therefore, the main responsibility of a state which adopted capitalism is the creation of structures by which capital flows freely. The traditional view of concentration of capital is not the norm; capital must be distributed freely to benefit a wider number of people. However, the intrinsic nature of capital eventually allows it to be concentrated under the management of a few. Small capitalists which produce capital eventually succumbs to bigger ones due to the nature of the complex system of exchanges which occur during production. Banking and loans are often seen as tools by which bigger capitalists assume ascendancy over others. SME's are slaves of banks. They loan their capital from banks. Banks are owned by big capitalists. Gains from banks are then put out by these big capitalists into exchange systems to generate more profits. Therefore, small profits are generated by small capitalists while bigger profits over time are for bigger capitalists.

Since both actors are within the system, it is therefore, the system that creates the rules of behaviour of both the small and big capitalists. The more tight regulations the state imposes upon the system, the more concentrated capital becomes. Hence to free capital up, a state must create a system which allows the free flow of capital, from the top-to-bottom or from agent to structure-level.

Changing the system to a new one obviously creates challenges and often systemic problems. The system establishes the rules of behaviour. These rules are contained in a document the state refers to as a Constitution. The Constitution lays down the rules, not just political and economic, but also social and cultural. Changing a constitution requires a re-imagining of roles and relationships. The main questions are what kind of relationships do we need to defeat poverty incidence in the Philippines?

Those who want change in the Philippines actually want a change in the relationships and exchanges which occur within and outside the state structure. Charter change is not just changing the governance model, no. It is re-engineering the structure to create interactions and relationships which, eventually redounds to the moralist or utopian belief of the greatest good for the greatest number. We have seen in several historical experiences already of several states that such an endeavour is not as easy as it seems or as easily as contemplated by our leaders. There are costs and risks which are more dangerous than the risks we so face today.

Lastly, why do we face the biggest threat in our existence as a nation? Because our leaders want to change a system which has been there for over 40 years. Unless this administration wanted nothing more than a revolution, such a "constitutional" or "peaceful" change will definitely not happen because the possibility of creating the former relationships and exchanges which perpetuate the very system from the very beginning exists! There is no change in the mindsets of those who will create the new Constitution. There is no change in their morality, and they are even worse now than before. Power is still the dominant cause of our leader's actions and behaviour. Creating a stricter environment thru constitutional change will only debilitate this country, affect economic growth and worsen social conditions.

What this country needs is an interregnum of about two to three years while we study the ramifications of such an action. While we analyse what is the best structure to coast us towards choppy waters of the future, we slowly modernise our thinking and base all our actions using realist lens and discard utopianism--for a while.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Reporting Dengvaxia-linked deaths and responsible journalism

I've been watching reports and I am particularly writing this to the people behind TV Patrol. And I urge them to please be responsible.

How does a journalist treat speculative news? Do these people still publish news items which quoted a source or sources telling the reporter that his findings are "inconclusive" and it includes the word or term "possible" or "there is a possibility"?

The New York Times call it speculative journalism. And it creates dire results especially to members of society. NYT says it is absurd and should be avoided because:

"In response to an event that caught everyone off guard and left the nation steeped in residual trauma, premediation allows for the sustainment of a constant, baseline fear by keeping catastrophe always within peripheral view. This is accomplished in part by creating a media apparatus into which any future event might be plugged, offering us the illusion of preparedness. Hurricanes, nuclear wars, stock market plunges, epidemics, terror attacks, earthquakes and currency collapses: The headlines prepare us for all of these by rehearsing them in advance."

Take the case of how TV patrol and specifically Ted Failon and Noli de Castro are "reporting" about the so-called Dengvaxia-linked deaths of children.

For more than a month now, producers of TV Patrol has fixated themselves on dengue and dengvaxia.  They have given ample media space to the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) and letting Dr. Erfe, the forensic consultant, get away with statements like "there is a pattern" or "possibly caused by dengvaxia."

Dr. Erfe had repeatedly told media that his findings are "inconclusive" meaning not yet final, or at best, speculative. Aside from Erfe, which is the only one claiming that there is a pattern, there is no other entity or institution that backs Erfe's "claims."

The cause of these kids' deaths is still unknown. IN the absence of a clear scientific finding, the basis of concluding the cause of death lies in the medico-legal report. That's the proper way of reporting such deaths.

 Yet, TV patrol and ABS-CBN accepts Erfe's "findings'--hook, line and sinker? And they call it news. 

Imagine, headlines saying "Dengvaxia-linked deaths"? And when one reads it, the conclusion of the headline came from an unauthorised source? Is that journalism? Is that news? 

Every one knows the difference between news and opinion. News reportage relies on exactness, opinion relies on norms. News is a narrative of an incident which already happened and there are no "probabilities" involved here--only the exact outcome already.

The World Health Organisation has already said there is still no confirmed Dengvaxia liked deaths but here is one television station claiming that there are already. Since when did ABS-CBN, specifically TV patrol become a health or medico-legal authority? 

News organisations are like research organisations--they search or look for facts first and when all these facts fit the news frame, they report.

Journalists are not theorists--they are writers of journals, of everyday occurrences and of the past, and in some instances, of a future based not on speculation but on scientific guesses.

The responsibility of journalists is not to gather facts just to fit or create a theory. No. Journalists are gatherers of facts, period. These facts are not mere facts, but observable, measurable and truthful facts or it exists in reality. Journalists are more of epistemologists, or empiricists.

Dr. Erfe's claims are " claims" meaning "observations" and his claims of seeing a pattern is not a fact but a theory or opinion. It becomes a fact when checked or counter checked or survives a counter.

What do you call this? Is that responsible journalism? No. Some foreigners define it like this see link. Actually, let me withdraw this.

TV Patrol is not just doing implicit speculation, but explicit speculation which has no place in journalism but probably in marketing.

TV Patrols feeds on fear to generate viewership. They are reporting Acosta's irresponsible statements to generate public sympathy and viewer ship believing that the issue has human interests involved in it.

I agree but why exploit it to a point that people all over the Philippines and even beyond these shores are panicking and some are getting extremely paranoid?

It is like the time when TV Patrol reported on alleged ghost hauntings in Caloocan. Instead of getting videos of these supposed ghosts, they made some people "dramatise" the alleged apparitions basing only on one testimony. So, that's news?

Now I know why certain people, and that includes Duterte, want nothing more than re-define our concept of self-expression and of 'journalism" by including a term "responsible" before "journalism."

PAO Head Persida Acosta and the Cruelty of Politics: From Clean Image to a Lady of Death

Quite frankly, I had enough of the theatrics and drama of Atty. Persida Acosta. Acosta is one of our country's honest government servants and her heart is at the right place. I've been her fan since the early 2000's and I believe we deserve an Acosta who is ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of law, truth, justice and democracy.

But, my God! Who's that simpleton who advises her now in her political career?? Acosta should fire that fool!

Everyone knows that Acosta is vying for the last four slots in the senatorial slate of the PDP-Laban. And my sources tell me that she wants really to be at the good graces of our President.

Yet, seeing her reportedly crying and commenting about this and that child's death allegedly due to an anti-dengue vaccine is too much already.

Mam, bumenta na po yan, just like what she previously announced that an epidemic is already here in the country, an epidemic of severe dengue.

Baka mam the epidemic you are referring to is an epidemic of buffoonery?

Acosta's almost daily appearance on TV Patrol, lamenting those deaths create an image of her being the Lady of Death.

Mention to me the name of "Persida Acosta" and what image do I conjure in my mid-age mind? Death. Misery. Alarmism. Dire situation. Sensationalism.

Is that the best way to secure that slot for a Senate run?

Baka matakot mga botante when they see and read your name among the list of Senatorial bets and link your name with Dengvaxia deaths? With our media platforms not entirely expansive and often unable to explain things, the possibility of people attaching the Percida Acosta brand not with justice but with vaccine-related deaths is a big possibility.

I even think that maybe many people are now thinking that Acosta had a hand in the dengvaxia mess and Dengvaxia deaths is now being linked with her. Kawawa naman siya.

I know why Acosta probably agreed with the suggestion of her owning the Dengvaxia issue--it is a way to improve her popularity ratings. And I think awareness of her is at its all time high.

IN politics however, popularity is just a component of success.

Ninety-nine percent of the people might know your name but the possibility of only a very small fraction of that population is trusting you and is voting for you is another matter.

Convertability is an essential factor towards winning any elections. Ask Duterte. Grace Poe was more popular than Duterte but Duterte had a higher convertibility rating than Poe's and that explains why he won over her.

How in hell would you be able to convert popularity to trust to be voted when people ascribe your name Acosta with deaths?

Likewise, Acosta's daily sobbing before the television cameras appear forced. We, ordinary people know the truth. We know mam that those are crocodile tears meant to elicit emotions and support from the masses.

Deep in my heart, I want Acosta to win. I want her to win in her OWN merits, not on some kind of contrived PR campaign exploiting the sorry state of people who are so frightened, they think that everytime they see their kids sick, they immediately link it to Dengvaxia.

Acosta has her heart at the right place. She possesses the skills, the experience and the qualifications of a good senator. Had our society been a more scientifically minded or oriented one and not molded by Hollywood, a person like Acosta would not need to cry and show her tears before the public just to prove her heart is at the right place, she does not need to witness every cadaver of a child being opened, examined and probed by people looking for support of their hypothesis and she definitely does not need to raise her voice like a Banshee just to establish a point of alarm that there is already an epidemic of dire proportions while we experience nothing of that sort.

Mam, ang uso po ngayon is just be yourself. You don't need a nose lift or a facelift. You don't need to show a forlorn face. You don't need to hammer the table with your fists to show how angry you are about the situation.

Mam, marami na po tayong alarmista sa atong bansa. Please, be different, for a change.

Tama na po. We know what you want. And you already established guilt through publicity.

A Critique of Duterte's choice of Constitutional Review group members

Is this administration really serious in changing our country?

I read the names which our President Rodrigo Duterte included in the 25-man constitutional review group. These are names which were behind the anomalous and highly scandalous Arroyo administration, while some are known names who thrived in this parasitic system. Some would say that is better because these people have exploited the system and they know how to destroy it. The more substantive question really is--do they have the correct vision and the correct analysis,  interpretation and appreciation of the problem?

I don't have any issue with former Chief Justice Puno. What surprises me is the absence of people whom we know to have the vision and the new ideas which we need to be incorporated into the draft Constitution.

Why are these names not included in the review panel?

1. Susan "Toots" Ople--- we need a charter that will create new and exciting opportunities for our labourers and OFWs. Ople has been working with this sector for decades. Her knowledge is surely rich enough to be mined and put into the new charter.

2. Architect Palafox---this man has a vision and that Musk-ian ideas of his are necessary for us to create a better Philippines. He's the best urban planner around. Why is he not in the panel?

3. Dr. Clarita Carlos--she has a wealth of knowledge gained not just within the academe but outside of it.  We need a more robust political infrastructure. We need expert ideas on handling our external affairs. We also need someone who knows the military infrastructure.

4. Ambassador Rosario Manalo--she is a veteran diplomat and her wealth of knowledge is ripe to be mined and put into creating a more professional, more skilful and more patriotic diplomatic corps.

5. Former general Luis Tuason Jr---- This retired gentleman of an officer has the right mindset and the experience and knowledge about maritime affairs. We need someone to articulate issues involving our maritime relations with other countries to protect the interests of Filipino seafarers.

6. Dr. Aileen Baviera--our country's foremost Sinologist. Our relationship with China is often being criticised for its lack of depth and even somewhat misinterpreted as subservience. How do we avoid becoming a Chinese satellite? What do we do in order to strengthen our position vis-a-vis China? What is the healthier relationship or form of engagement when it comes to this emerging superpower?

7. Dr. Zeus Salazar---this retired professor of history is one of the best and the greatest minds that had ever lived. Though he's an octogenarian, nonetheless, his mind remains excellent. He can provide us with expert advise and valuable historical lessons so that we know what to avoid and what to include.

8. Designer Lhuillier---- she's a foremost Hollywood based fashion designer. Why is she on my list? She knows global trends. She knows what's in store for the future. She puts a Filipino flavour out of her creations which are being considered the best among the world's best. We need someone like her so that our new charter would have a globalist design along Filipino lines.

9. Fernando Zobel--- why is a billionaire painter and visual artist in this list? Well, Zobel's eye is what we need to create a modern society. Artists are political animals. There is some politics in art.

10. Tony Meloto--- one of our country's visionaries. Meloto is one kind of an individual, someone who understands the situation of our people and puts out innovative ideas to improve the environment.

11. Dr. Feria of the UP College of Mass Communications---Dr. Feria is a stickler for research. Her mind is excellent.

12. Dr. Luis Teodoro----  a man of letters, of principle and of journalistic freedom. Self expression is an important pillar of a democracy.

13. We need an expert in European affairs and I believe Dr. Ela Atienza of the UP Political Science department fits the bill.

14. Dr. Carlota Hernandez is expert in international law and security. She must be at the panel.

15. Dr. Temy Rivera-- yes, he's a Socialist but we need such a person to provide us with alternative and critical views of reality.

16. Amina Rasul--- a long-time peace advocate and expert in Muslim affairs. She should be in the panel.

17. Dr. Ferdinand Llanes--one of his

This administration wants to create a new constitution. This Constitution will serve as our people's blueprint of the kind of society we need. The new charter will redefine our lives and our relations and interactions with people. It will not only reconfigure our economic-political systems but likewise our social structures, as well as cultural. All the other laws will surely follow as soon as we unveil this new Constitution which is supposed to be an improvement of the existing one.

Do these people know our cultural norms and values? Being operators or carpet baggers of this system, what they know are the ins and outs of this system, and this skill is not what we need.

We need innovators. We need designers and engineers. We need anthropologists, sociologists, historians, communicators and political scientists. We need visionaries.

Sadly, none of those named by Duterte possesses these skills and qualities. Duterte named lawyers, liars, prevaricators and known skilled operators. This shows you the true intention of those who want to change the system--they want the new one to create a resilient probably protectionist system which will run counter to the prevailing globalised system.

Why are we creating those federal states, if you ask me?

Regional oligarchs fear competition. Since most of them have tenuous hold over the political leadership (which is always shifting) and some are not proximate with the Power Centre, they want to be the power centre in their respective localities and territories so that they can protect their economic interests. When we go federal, we give these regional powers more powers, powers that are supposed to be within the presidential context are to be exercised by these regional oligarchs.

Give these regional oligarchs the power to legislate laws and they will definitely create laws that benefit only 1% of the federal state's population. This is expected since we are under a capitalist system where concentration of capital and of wealth is encouraged.

Imagine an Alvarez lording it over his legislative district? Surely, as the head of that federalist state, he will surely push for laws that encourage multiple partners (he admits having a paramour, an admission of committing a crime involving moral turpitude. Curiously though, attorney Alvarez is not receiving any written admonition from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and no one is even thinking of filing a disbarment for his highly public admission that he is now living in with a woman not his legal wife, citing his right as a Manobo (sometimes he claims to be a Muslim) to have multiple partners).

Giving extra powers to these regional oligarchs has a direct effect on our natural resources. Imagine having as a federal head, the biggest logging operator in the country. What will happen to our remaining virgin forests? Or how about electing a pro-mining federal head and a pro-mining federal parliament?

These are questions beyond the arguments of this constitution being unable to spur further development, of this charter promoting inequality in resource distribution, of this charter limiting economic and social development.

Admittedly, we really want to change things in our society, but we must do it the right way.

We must have a new constitution that is science-based, and the kind of constitution that is backed up by research.

We must not let populism and emotionalism find its way in the process of creating a new charter. It is time for us to create a forward-looking constitution, something which encourages the creation of new social capital out of the relationships which it created.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Frigate Mess at the Philippine Navy: When Politics Influence Military decisions

Nikko Dizon published a very interesting story behind the ongoing scandal affecting the Philippine Navy today. Let me simplify this story so that you'll understand what really is the core issue here.

The previous Navy leadership procured a frigate from Hyundai, a Korean firm. Stated in the procurement deal with the supplier of this warship is a proviso that states it will be equipped with the top of the line, highly sophisticated weapons system by a French firm called Thales. Thales is a recognised name in the defense weapons systems world. Highly respected, its weapons systems are being used by many countries and are installed in over 170 plus ships around the world.

Now, Hyundai built our frigate with specifications consistent with Thales defense weapons system design, expected since you'll not equip such a warship with machine guns not meant for it. In the military, war equipment are made based on the requirements of the buyer. Requirements are based on a much agreed strategy or principle of war being followed by the buyer.

The Philippines is an archipelagic state. Our borders are porous. Much of our territory is water. Therefore, our defense philosophy is really territorial defense not offensive strategy. We need naval ships. We need frigates which are built to protect our bigger naval assets as well as provide muscle in our anti terror operations by being the most sought after by amphibious expeditionary forces. Since we don't have any submarine, we really on Frigates because they are built to counter submarine activity.

Of course, any frigate will just be a duck sitting on still water if not fully armed and ready for battle. A frigate will just be something like a Hummer being used by a civilian for bragging rights without a sophisticated weapons system. Such a ship should have its matching defense system otherwise, if you install it with one that is not consistent with the design specifications of the ship, you'll be creating something like a banca equipped with a heavy machine gun at its brow. Do that and you are either stupid or downright traitor.

That is treason in the highest order because you are not doing your best equipping your defense systems with the latest and the most combat ready equipment when you are simply capable of doing so. Of course, Thales is higher priced than a Hanwa, but there is simply no comparison between the two. You cannot compare a French wine with someone's moonshine and say that they taste similar. You must be dreaming.

The thing is, if you have that mindset of always scrimping for costs, you are just like your predecessors, someone like an Emilio Abaya of the DOTR who authorised the purchase of MRT trams whose systems are incompatible with your present MRT system.

Treason? Yes. Why? As a government official you are there to provide the public with the best service and in this case, a defense system that your enemy would not mock at and would definitely save lives.

What is simply most disturbing is the fact that the price of this Thales system has been approved already and the funds allocated for its purchase. And yet, you decide against it and choose a Hanwa system which is simply too far off when it comes to reliability and trustworthiness even by your navy officials. Who would want then to ride on a frigate which you know would practically be a sitting such once it hits the water and once it engages an enemy with a more sophisticated defense system.

You would be losing valuable lives. If I'm a Navy official, I would surely not command such a frigate into war. That's suicide.

Would you be proud to tell the Filipino people that the reason you choose a poor defense system is because of costs comparison and not other more substantial reasons? How about saving lives of your men? How about permanently and effectively neutralising an enemy or aggressor?

This is the problem. Some of our political leaders are dipping their fingers on issues which they have practically no knowledge about. They think that purchasing military resources are like buying fish in the market.

Military acquisitions are special because they require thought--something our political leaders sorely lack. When a political leader exercises not brain but plain and simple barrio tic common sense, this is what we get---a country peopled with 101 million defenseless souls and a beautiful country whose natural assets are left to the predatory caprices of foreign demons all because of our Navy's inability to secure our watery territory.

Because of costs considerations, many lives are sure to be lost once this frigate engages another in a brutal naval fight. It's like what our political leaders did during the eighties when we bought those flying coffins dubbed Huey's helicopters.

Now, we have a frigate which is literally a paper banca, ill defended and most probably would be servicing like a muscled luxury yacht all porma no sting.

And a bemedalled, highly respected Navy official got the boot all because he used his brain and stood what he believed would be for the best interests of the institution which he dedicated most of his adult life for. Who among our commodores want our consigns to die aboard a frigate with a poor Hanwa as a defensive weapon? Probably those who kept their silence. Keeping one's silence in a time when one's voice is needed is not just a coward--but a traitor.

This is a very sad commentary in an other wise bright news for our Navy. For all my time, I had high hopes for the Philippine Navy. Among our list of services, the Navy had the least number of scandals compared with the Philippine army. Of course, there are several accusations of the Navy being involved in smuggling and of human rights violations but these are all in the forgettable past. For the past few years, the Navy had improved its image and is the most transparent among our services.

And now this.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

True Revolutionary Change and What Needs to be done: Propelling the Philippines into a super economic giant of the New Era

I am breaking my self-imposed silence because of Mr. Federico Pascual, my good friend and columnist of the Philippine Star. His column today makes an interesting read and needs further elucidation.

First, let me be clear that I am opposing Federalism at this point because the country is not prepared for it. Why do I say so? Three reasons: first, Federalism requires a politically mature society. Sadly, we are not at that level at this time. Our people are still being misled by populism and celebrity-driven politics that prostitute the electoral process altogether. Money drives elections in the Philippines. For sure, those who will be elected in these federal parliaments will always be the propertied and privileged class. Surely, these assemblymen, as what Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez describes them, will pursue their personal interests over the interests of the people. Elections will be manipulated to suit the whims and caprices of these economic elites.

One example would be these powers already entrenched in say, the National Capital Region (NCR) which include as many as 30 families all competing for power. Unless you give Manila the status of a full state or at least Manila as a sub-state, such a scenario where a former president will compete with the Gatchalians of Valenzuela, the Bautistas and Belmontes of Quezon City, the Fernandos of Marikina, the Binays of Makati, the Cayetanos of Taguig, the Gonzaleses and Abalos family of Mandaluyong, the Olivareses-Aguilars of Paranaque will surely happen. Obviously, these heads of cities will gun for the title of first governor of a federated NCR. Imagine the massive conflict Federalism will cause the minute we federate NCR.

Second, let me be clear that the primary reason which drove these so-called Federalists to compaign for the adoption of this system is economic. Their logic is simple--- inequality in the allocation of national funds. Several regions, particularly in Mindanao, remain underdeveloped because most funds are being allocated elsewhere. Federalists think in terms of getting the economic pie for themselves instead of getting just slices of it. They blame government for not allocating funds for infrastructure development of their areas.

Without public funds, these regions will not improve and therefore, most people will be stuck in the rut of poverty, Federalists claim. With Federalism, the state itself will be able to use funds generated by the state itself for its own development.

Let me ask proponents of Federalism---how much percentage of your proposed federal budgets will be contributed to the national union of federates? Is it not that federal states will still allocate a certain percentage of your funds to fuel the unitary Federal government? So, expect minimal change in our situation since federal states will not be able to fully enjoy or utilize their own budgets anyway. Why change the entire governmental structure when the solution is really legislate the way the national government allocate national resources?

True economic development in impoverished regions will happen if local government units will (1) implement a more effective economic planning of local resources; (2) improve tax collections by eliminating red tape and corruption; (3) spur the local economies by identifying areas of specialization (for example, if the economy is agrarian, then, focus on modernizing the agrarian sector by machination, improving infrastructure to enable producers to directly send their produce to market, extend SME loans to those who are engaged in non-agrarian businesses and lift restricted access to land by those who want to be agrarian producers) and liberalize the economic environment by encouraging competition by local and foreign capitalists.

I’ve been closely studying the economic structure of our country. Since we adopted capitalism, economic development depends on so many things but if we simply it, it depends on the flow and movement of capital.  In areas where capital is monopolized, economic development is slow. Whereas, areas where competition is vibrant and abundant, capital flows freely and available to everyone that it spurs economic growth.

Looking at our economic landscape, we see regional economies being monopolized and manipulated by big-time landlords, bureaucrat capitalists and the comprador bourgeoisie. Those who run for elective offices are those who also control the local and regional economies. One example is Batanes. The governor of Batanes is the one who owns the shipping firm that supplies foodstuffs to these islands. Imagine how would you discourage that economic-political family to surrender its privilege now to a Governor of Cagayan-Isabela under a Federated setup? Surely, the Dys will be interested in monopolizing the economy of these Batanes group of Islands.

Look at other regions and you’ll find that most government officials in these regions have interlocking economic interests in their respective areas.

That is my point---Federalism will not break the hold of oligarchs in our regional economies. The fact is, Federalism will further fortify oligarchical rule in these regions because these economic powers will now have the constitutional power to legislate laws that favor their interests over federal welfare. For sure, Federalism will promote extreme policies which will restrict the entry of foreign investors in their respective controlled areas. Under Federalism, members of the parliament of the federal state may enact whatever laws suit them.

Expect Federalism to be used as a weapon of these economic elites against globalization. Instead of seeing a freer, more open regional economies, under Federalism, expect to see Federal states controlled by economic elites in those regions and imposing regulatory policies that restrict the flow of capital into these controlled economies. There will be laws that will serve as barriers to entry of capital. I ask—how then will economic development develop in impoverished areas where competition will not exist? Capitalism thrives in competitive environments. Poverty, inequality and instability follow in economies where concentration of capital is tight.

Imagine Federal states having different utilities providers. Some areas may prefer Globe services while others, Smart. There will be that possibility of areas without these telecomm providers there, maybe local telecom providers created by elites controlling the economy of that federal region. Translate that to electricity and water utilities. It highly possible that all utilities will be controlled by economic elites also managing these federal states.

Such a landscape is a discouragement to foreign investors. Instead of simplifying bureaucratic processes, federalism will complicate foreign investment entry. Some states will probably adopt strict regulatory policies while others will be liberal. Hence, there will surely be an uneven economic development since other states will be developed while others will surely lag behind.

What will definitely happen is increased in-country migration of people, in such catastrophic proportions never before seen in this nation. People from underdeveloped Federal states will surely migrate to more economically developed ones. There will be massive disruption.

Lastly, given all these reasons, there will surely be destabilized states due to incessant politically-driven conflicts among major and minor economic and political powers in these federal regions. One example would be if we implement federated states bringing together rival ethnic groups into one state. Surely, Maranao politicos will compete with Maguindanaoans, and Tausugs will battle for power with Basilan-based tribes and those of Zamboanga.

How about in region 1, which includes Pangasinan? Under a Federated state, the Marcoses will now battle it out with the Singsons, the De Venecias, even with the Ablans and other political dynastic families in those regions. How about in CAR? There are non-Ifugao political families with economic interests already involved in politics there. For sure, economic and political powers will definitely compete for the penultimate title of Federal Governor among families involved in the Leyte-Samar-Cebu areas. And we know what happens during these politically-driven conflicts? Not just political instability but serious economic disruptions as well.


This mode of governance works well in Western and some Asian countries who already underwent a serious civil war and unified themselves later to balance the interests of the landed and propertied with the un-landed and un-propertied. The Philippines is the only country in Asia which skipped this bloody chapter in its history. Instead of just one bloody month of in-fighting, we are undergoing almost a centuries-old pseudo civil war which impedes our growth both as nation and as a economic powerhouse.

Admit it---we are being managed by a bureaucratic government which is being dictated upon by a small group of economic elites who use their stooges in all branches of government to perpetuate their economic statuses and pursue their own fiduciary interests. Government will remain ineffective because it is to the best interests of these economic powers to make the state weak so that it is pliable to their whims and caprices. We will continue to suffer under graft and corruption because it is thru these that elites continue their hold over political power groups. These elites encourage corruption because that is the glue that holds both economic and political powers together in a symbiotic relationship of gains.

Underdevelopment is being encouraged by these economic and political powers because this is being used as a reason for them to use public funds to fund massive build-build-build projects that about 20-40% of allocated funds go to their respective pockets. Review all Public-Private Partnerships and you’ll find that all companies owned by existing elites are taking part in it. These firms are getting wider and bigger slices of the public funds’ pie to fuel their own operations.

We need to break this hold. The only way for us to break this hold of the elites is thru a campaign of re-engineering the superstructure of our state. 

We need a state that we will use as a hammer to break the hold of these parasitic elites in our economic, social and political lives. The state must be the People’s Weapon against oligarchy.

Our Asian neighbors did it thru revolutions, like China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Such revolutions are risky and costly since these involved loss of lives. We have been experiencing interracine wars for half a century and surely, we have learned our lessons. We are tired of launching another revolution which results to the same despicable arrangement. What we need is a revolution that is (1) blood-less yet will result to the same things our Asian neighbors achieved.

We know that it is only thru genuine politics that we will be able to change the system.

Re-engineering our superstructure requires three valuable steps: first, we need a strong state managed by people under one strong political party. Eliminate complication. Let us promote a national political party that will serve as the vanguard of this revolution. We need such a party to instill discipline among its members. The party will serve as a bastonero against members who will stray from the agreed collective path of the Party. This party should be patterned after the Katipunan, pre-Aguinaldo. Erring and corrupt members are meted proper penalties, even death.

Under the tutelage of this political party, we then seize political power. We will then lay down a 10-year plan for the nation.

The 10-year plan will involve the following:

1. Review of all agencies of government. We will inform all heads of agencies to vacate their respective posts. We will streamline the bureaucracy. Eliminate agencies with similar functions. We will encourage members of the academe to serve as heads of these agencies. Experts will be asked even forced to accept bureaucratic roles in the government.

2. We will allow the functioning of the courts still under the Supreme Court until such time that it necessitates the total overhaul of the judiciary department. This will also be effected in the legislative departments. All members of Congress will be asked to vacate their posts. A commission will be established to review records of judges and justices. Those who are adjudged incorruptible will be given posts in the judiciary. Corrupt judges and justices will be charged in court or asked not to take part anymore in government. Same goes to members of the House. Politicians charged with corruption or other crimes will be asked not to take part in politics anymore or risk incarceration. Perpetual ban or disqualification in holding public office will be meted against these people.

3. We will gather all economic elites into one group. Those who control utilities will be asked to give these up to government. A Commission will review their records. Those firms which have not been involved in anti-people and anti-Philippine practices will be asked to join a select group of business leaders who will serve as advisors of government. If possible, all capital will be concentrated in the hands of the State. Sympathetic economic powers will then be asked to elect among themselves five to join the National Governing Council.

4. We will gather all military leaders into one advisory Council. Leaders will be asked to join the Party. Those who will refuse membership will not be given serious responsibilities. Five military leaders will then be asked to join the National Governing Council.

5. Religious and non-govenment leaders including members of the academe will also be invited to form a Council. They will elect among themselves at least five members to head a National Council.

6. The head of the Party will serve as temporary head of a National Governing Council. This Council will be composed of 21 members which will emanate from five from the political party, five from the Church and NGO, five from the military and five from the economic council. The NGC will serve as the transitional government for 3 years.

7. The NGC will appoint a Constitutional body to create a new Constitution. This body will be composed of 50 members selected by the NGC and 50 members elected at large by the people. Eighty percent of members of this body will be Partymembers and only 20% non-party members.

8. The NGC will then review the governors and mayors. Those who are not members of the Party will be asked to give up their posts for Party members. Those who elect membership to the Party will be given such right provided that the candidate does not have any criminal case, especially ones involving graft and corruption. Those who are charged with graft and corruption will be asked to vacate his post and will be meted perpetual disqualification for holding public office. Local officials who belonged to the economic elites of the city or province will be politely asked to withdraw from politics. They will be banned perpetually from holding public office until such time that they give up their economic interests.

9. The NGC will create an anti-crime superbody to eliminate all syndicates and monopolies. This body will be given the power to use physical force to destroy syndicates and monopolies.

10. For 3 years, the Constitutional Commission will do its tasks of research and writing the draft of the new Constitution. There will be a full year explaining the new Constitution in a public campaign. Afterwards, a plebiscite will be called. After duly certifying the Constitution, then a democratic elections will then be called.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Social dengue fever

I often hear some friends saying this dengue issue is really very serious because it affects parents and kids. I am a parent, a father of several young kids, but I am not as panicky or as alarmist as the others.  Why? Because I am part of the informed public. We are not stupid. We are not fools.

We are not going around town, telling the public that 70,000 kids are at risk of death because that is simply not true. Worse, these kinds of talk are being peddled by "responsible doctors" ---how responsible they are, you tell me. A non-doctor like me happens to know that mosquitoes carry the virus within them and transfer them when they suck the blood out of a victim. That virus goes to the bloodstream and interacts with the body's cells. Problems begin when a fight happens between the virus and our body's cells.

Being injected with this vaccine will not cause instantaneous death. It is not a lethal shot. However, just one bite of that mosquito bearing dengue virus will, if left untreated.

Why cause public panic? For some, I think, this is a diversion. We are diverting public attention from the monumental ills that beset our country today. While we scare the wits of parents just so they will readily agree on the introduction of a new dengue vaccine from another manufacturer (reportedly being peddled widely by those "experts" or "medical advocates" going around town, spreading the gospel of death instead of hope among the populace thru media channels), we forget that the economy is sliding down the path of perdition, reports of corruption are rising, there are reports of mass demoralisation among government employees, even from the uniformed services, killings of journalists and threats being heaped against some, China is reclaiming land at several islets being claimed by us, more Filipinos packing their bags and travelling abroad not just for work, but for migration, and rising incidences of social and health problems like HIV, drug addiction and others.

We have been afflicted by a severe social dengue fever for so long and the glimmer of hope flickers so slowly and so lately that the light is getting smaller and smaller every, single, day.

We need new social doctors to save us from this malady. The fact is, we are now at 2008 levels. All the gains we so reaped for the past seven years are now erased.

Credit that to our previous masters who are great motivators yet sneaky thieves. Credit that to a moribund political system that creates the very environment that allows these Piped Piper thieves to fool us into believing their gospel only to discover they are just lulling us to sleep and acceptance while they sneak in and rob us of our liberties and rights.

We are feverish with anger because we know we don't deserve such a society. We pay our taxes dutifully. We follow traffic rules every single day. We act as dutiful citizens. Yet, we are being barbarize by people who were not raised properly by their parents or probably taught an evil dogma that it is easy for them to lord it over while we agonise and left with nothing.

These people are the very mosquitoes that cause our social dengue fever. Our social disease is curable and preventable. We only need to clean house and rid ourselves of these pesky little dim wits and throw them out of our midsts.

The Dengue Issue--fuzz over nothing?

A confession---I had a friend who nearly died due to dengue. He survived because people took care of him knowledgeable people who did not panic when  he was wheeled to the emergency room.

That pesky fever which shot his temperature up, is a sign that there is a fight going on between his healthy blood cells and the virus. The virus is virulent and that explains why his blood platelets are losing their numbers. When healthy blood was infused into him, he got healed, because those precious blood contained healthy antibodies which fought a good fight to save him from the clutches of Kamatayan.

You don't die due to dengue. You die of its complications.

When your body temperature heats up, your entire system goes into red alert, full time. Every organ of your body tries its darn best fighting off the invading virus. You lose the fight if your blood count drops, leading to organ failure and possibly cardiac arrest. Hence, it is important that your blood platelet count remains at 10,000 levels. If it drops, problems start.

So, dengue does not instantaneously lead to death. If left untreated, and if blood transfusion does not occur when necessary, the body of course, lacking sufficient antibodies, succumbs to the virus. Though life threatening, dengue is curable and preventable.

Our body is made to resist every single type of biological threat there is. Over time of course, or when we age, we lose precious antibodies. The loss depends on how we abuse our bodies. Having a healthy lifestyle is still the answer to every health concern. When we abuse our bodies, like, we don't have enough sleep, we eat unhealthy foods, we drink and smoke, those antibodies waste away, and bad cells take over. When that happens, expect our vulnerability to disease to hike to lethal levels.

When dengvaxia was announced to the world, millions hailed its discovery. At last, there is this vaccine which can help us fight dengue. It was not an all-cure, end-all vaccine. It was supposed to empower our bodies to fight a more effective fight against the virus. And it aims to increase our resistance to the symptoms of the disease.

Like other vaccines, which is based on human research, it is a continuing study. It may be just 95% effective today but with recent advances in medical science, it is possible to further increase the efficacy of the vaccine to higher levels. What prevents us from discovering a cure depends on the limits of our imagination and innovation. We have the science and the equipment necessary to further increase our knowledge of the virus and eventually, how to fight and kill it, if possible.

Knowing this, I am very curious why personalities which include people whom I respect in the medical profession turn into raving braggarts and become alarmists when the pharma company Sanofi announced their findings.

That firm just wanted to be transparent. They want the world to know that for the past six years, they have been tirelessly working and getting more knowledge-able about dengue. They already know that it is an enigmatic foe to fight with. It is sneaky. It evolves. It mutates. And it hides its best front before us. Like any other epidemiological study, this requires time to further determine how lethal or how susceptible it is to external influences.

Instead of helping government calm the situation, several irresponsible people for reasons probably political or they just want to ride the issue, came bursting into radio and TV booths with their own versions or interpretations of the story. Hay naku.

We must always think of the collective interests first before we brag to the world how brilliant we are.  KSP kasi ilang Pilipino. Nakakahiya. We are the only one in the world going like crazy with an imaginary threat.

Everyone in the world, kalmado, while, here we are fighting, splitting our hairs against a lowly mosquito!

We blame the DOH from implementing that mass vaccination program yet we also lay blame to them when we see hundreds of us falling over due to dengue! When incidences of dengue are going South, we don't praise the DOH. When this update was announced and we just heard the word "severe", we over-react like Kris Aquino does.

Severe for a European means getting a fever, not getting yourself killed. And fever, like what I wrote here, is the usual symptom of having a dengue. Let me state here what the World Health Organisation (WHO) says about dengue and "severe dengue"

Key facts

  • Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection.
  • The infection causes flu-like illness, and occasionally develops into a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue.
  • The global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades. About half of the world's population is now at risk.
  • Dengue is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas.
  • Severe dengue is a leading cause of serious illness and death among children in some Asian and Latin American countries.
  • There is no specific treatment for dengue/ severe dengue, but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates below 1%.
  • Dengue prevention and control depends on effective vector control measures.
  • A dengue vaccine has been licensed by several National Regulatory Authorities for use in people 9-45 years of age living in endemic settings.

see this link.

WHO says "there is no specific treatment for dengue but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates below 1%" and " dengue prevention and control depends on effective vector control measures" which means rapid pests de-infestation.

Again, it's the mosquito stupid, not the vaccine. Even if you inject yourself with hundreds of vials of that vaccine, it will not kill you--the mosquito with the virus will, if you remain untreated. And the chances of you becoming a corpse is 0.0002% due to a second dengue infestation which even is lower than having a liver ailment or a lung disease.

Frankly, the reason why we have a high incidence of dengue here in this country is because most of us do not clean our surroundings. All over, we have thousands of buckets filled with filthy water where mosquitoes larvae thrive.

We have a high incidence of poverty in this country and that explains why many of us can't buy a mosquito repellent. Some of us die of dengue because we don't have enough monies to buy ourselves medicines and excellent hospital care.

And the reason why we are poor or majority are, is because our tax monies are being pocketed by greedy individuals who are experts in thievery. Monies supposed to provide for adequate and comprehensive health care go to contractors and carpet baggers who use not their brains but their tongues to get government projects.

We are blaming a vaccine because we want to hide the real truth---we are complicit of the monumental socio-economic-political distresses that unmake us as a nation. We can't fix this country and we even cause its eventual demise, and since there is simply no social vaccine effective enough to cure our social ills, we point the blame on a vaccine which is proven to be 95% effective against dengue.

The dengue issue, honestly, is not a dengvaxia issue. It is a socio-economic and now, even political issue.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

November 30---a history in the making?

You know why many people are wary about this proposal for a revolutionary government? Not just it is illegal, but if the very same people managing the government right now are the very ones who will manage this revolutionary government, what changes do we now expect to see in the next few months? Nothing!

And if those who oppose them are members of the previous dispensation, the fears of many are legitimate. Do you want the "yellows" to ascend once more to power, those very same people who tricked us in believing that they are upright persons when in truth and in fact, they were the very same ones who robbed us of billions of pesos.

Come November 30, we have to make a decisive choice and we are forced to due to the political circumstances--- are we going to trust the people of Mr. Duterte who are composed of members of the Arroyo administration and his trusted political allies from Davao and elsewhere to make a revolutionary government a legitimate hegemon? Or are we going to support the other side, those outside the kolambo who wants nothing more than enjoy the trappings of power once more?

As they say, we are faced with two untenable options.

Actually, we are not really being pressured to choose between two options only.

We can actually make November 30, a truly wonderful and memorable occasion if we choose to go to the side of Right and create a truly revolutionary interim government, one that would not be peopled by Mr. Duterte's incompetent people and those from the mustard gang.

We can mass up more people to support and create an interim government that will be revolutionary in thought and action, but not populist.

Are we ready to face the inevitable? I pray so.

Sana Maulit Muli (Highest Version) - Regine Velasquez

One of the greatest Filipino songs ever composed. I don't know if you remember the story behind this immortal song. Written by Gary Valenciano, it tells about his love with another woman before Angeli Pangilinan. That other woman was Angeli's sister.

This song sung here by Regine Velasquez-Alcasid is the best version ever. I hope you like it.

Fiipinos strive for the same thing---change

I just can't seem to figure out the logic. Why is Mr. Duterte trying very hard to create a radicalised milieu?

Our economy is supposed to be lifting itself up and up but with all these uncertainties in the air, how do we expect foreign investors to park their monies here?

Mr. Duterte thinks the NPAs and the Communists are pests. And they have inhabited our forests risking their lives for more than fifty years.

Some of us would say, they are destabilisers and others, patriots. Whatever you think they are, one thing is certain--most of these people belong to the most illustrious sub-sector of our society, talented and intelligent young men and women who believe and hope that someday, our society, our country change for the better.

And who doesn't? Every single one of us long for change. Millions of us here and millions of us outside these lands cry for change. We have been enslaved by colonialism for 300 years and more, and we have been in poverty for all our lives. We need a respite to all these sufferings which our mighty God had given us to make us strong and resilient.

By treating the Communists as terrorists, and as enemies of the state, what are we trying to tell the world? That we do not subscribe to their longing for change? What is so different from what they want and what we want?

They think the system is being dominated by oligarchs. Do we not believe the same thing? This system perpetuates a cycle of oppression that puts a great majority of our people at risk by depriving them of economic opportunities, do we not think the same way?

We cannot move forward as a nation if we fight amongst ourselves. There is no single ideology in the world that truly points us to the right direction----only the most scientific of these ideologies.

Hence, no one can claim that he is right.

While the rest of the world worry themselves over where to invest their monies or how to spend their vacations, here we are, fighting amongst ourselves, fellow Filipinos, fighting over power, and the spoils of it.

We are fighting who gets what, and who gets to kiss the ass of whom. And for what?

For the riches a position brings? For the public adulation and Philistinistic welcome we get when we are in power? For the prize of fame, we sacrifice hundreds of lives in order for our smallest contribution to the betterment